By Lee Brecheen
Head Coach: Hudson Fuller (1st year)
2022 Record: 11-2 (District Champions, State Semifinalists)
Class & District: Class 5A (District 4)
2022 Playoffs: Defeated Edna Karr in Quarterfinals, Lost to John Curtis Christian in Semifinals of Division I (Select) Playoffs
After former Catholic head coach David Simoneaux sent shockwaves statewide after he announced he was resigning to take the head gig at Central (Baton Rouge), the school quickly hired West Feliciana head coach Hudson Fuller. Fuller did a great job at West Feliciana HS as head coach as he led the program to a state semifinals appearance last season. Before he went to West Feliciana, Fuller was the quarterbacks coach & offensive coordinator for Catholic, helping lead the Bears to the state title in 2017 as well as its runner-up teams in 2018 and 2019. Fuller is a graduate of University High (Class of 2008). Catholic had several players sign including WR Shelton Sampson (LSU), WR Daniel Harden (playing baseball at McLennan Community College), OL Camron Banks (Nicholls State), DT Joshua Johnson (Nicholls State), Center Jacob Johnson (Nicholls State), Landon Carter (Memphis) and DE Judd Ruyea who walked on at Louisiana Tech.
I went to spring practice and got my first look at this team after seeing them play twice during the 2022 season. I came away super impressed with what they possibly can become compared to the better teams in Class 5A in Louisiana. The parts and pieces are there to be as good as some of the teams that won it all in the past.
“I’m excited about this group’s overall potential in 2023,” Fuller said. We are improving every week and getting better every day. We will take the season week by week and not look ahead and we will be good.”
The offense will be led by an impressive group of running backs and it might be the most talented group of any team you will see in Louisiana. This team can roll four different running backs at you at any time with no dropoff. The position is led by a Clyde Edwards-Helaire clone in Barry Remo (5-9, 195) pounds strong, quick and has the burst to become great in 2023. Remo has a lot of the intangibles to be one of the best to come out of this school at running back by the time this season is over. The position also has other talented backs as well Ryland Parker (5-9, 170, 4.5 speed), RB Jeremy Fisher (5-9, 170, 4.5 speed) and young but talented Jayden Miles (6-1, 200).
The offense will have, in my opinion, the best quarterback prospect in Louisiana in Daniel Beale (6-3 200) who has that “it” factor because he is a great leader who competes and has the arm strength. Daniel has two state championships on his resume so he’s dialed in to be ready when that time comes in the playoffs as he has been. In the passing game, there will be a few players that can make it happen. WR Bradley Wright (5-10, 175, 4.45 speed) can make things happen in a hurry in the slot spot and is one of the best in the state. You also have WR Amari Clayton (6-2, 190) has some Shelton Sampson-type stuff and one day might be recruited like him, it’s his first year to be on varsity on the field full-time. The Bears also return talented receivers in Cohen Leblanc, senior WR Brooks Wright (6-3, 185) who can play some Wildcat for the team with hands and 4.55 speed and off the bench you have senior DJ Duncan (6-3, 185) who can come in for reps.
The offensive line will be led by a veteran team leader in senior OG/C Ervin Smith (6-1, 285) who has improved and has all the tools to be a D1 center or guard in college. There’s also Jeydon Sparrow (6-2, 270), OT Blazie Thomassie (6-4, 250) who is a talented young lineman, senior OG Ian Marcin (6-4, 280), senior OG Winston Napoli (6-3, 275) and some of the younger players will add depth to a young unit with a lot of potential.
From what I saw in the spring, the defense has the athletes to compete with anyone in Class 5A. They’re not huge up front but WOW they are quick and strong. The front seven will be led by DE Lance Zimmerman (6-3, 240, 4.65 speed), senior DT Blair Rousseau (5-10, 245), senior DT Danny Woods (5-10, 230), senior DT Oliver Sauine (5-11, 235), senior LB Lucas Scharmm (5-11, 210), MLB Layton Welch (5-10, 210), OLB Isaiah Stokes (6-2, 190, 4.6 speed) and talented OLB RJ Fleming (6-3, 195). The secondary has a lot of depth and will be led by FS Blaine Bradford (6-2, 180, 4.5 speed) who is one of the best young defensive backs in the whole United States. Bradford is one of the best I’ve seen in Baton Rouge since Eric Reid played at Dutchtown. There’s also talented Jacob Bradford (6-1, 190), SS Colin Coates (5-10, 170), senior SS Robert Kagongo (6-0, 185), senior SS/OLB Derald Spears (5-11, 180, 4.55 speed) who is a big-time hitter, Cayden Jones (6-0, 175) and SS/CB Harrison Kidder (5-11, 165) who is not only is a hard-hitter but a smart, young player as well.
The special teams are always strong at Catholic is always strong and it will be again in 2023. The Bears return Sean Perret who has a D1 leg and can do both punting and kicking headed into fall camp. There are always young players at this spot in the fall who will make a name for themselves to help out on either kickoffs, extra points or punting. Catholic also returns its long snapper Brooks Allen (6-2, 195) one of the best in Baton Rouge at his position.
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